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Top 10 Best: JimmyO

When JoBlo asked me if I’d like to write about my personal Top 10 movies of the year, I was actually quite excited, and more than a little nervous. It’s easy enough to ask someone what connected with them or which films stood out and kept the love for cinema alive. But to actually put them in order and say this should be higher on the list because it’s a better movie is a difficult task. Because maybe SWEENEY TODD is not necessarily a better film than KNOCKED UP, it might have just touched a nerve or spoke to you in a more intense way. And the nice thing is, there were plenty of great flicks in 2007. Sure there were a ton of bad ones, but I’m happy to say that I was entertained and inspired by a number of films.

Upon writing this, I haven’t caught up with a few movies that might have otherwise been on this list, including THERE WILL BE BLOOD, THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY or JUNO. But out of the ten, some are older, some are new, and my number one, I only recently had the chance to see. But as I said, some movies just speak to you. And the fact that there are two musicals on my list is an absolute shock to me because I really dislike the genre. In fact, there are maybe a handful that I have really enjoyed in my lifetime, but hey, a good movie is a good movie. So here it is. My best of 2007.

10. THE SIGNAL

It is New Years Eve, and something has happened while a young woman and her lover shared a tryst. When she returns to her husband, all hell seems to have broken loose and people are killing each other without any conscious, almost as if the victims truly deserve their fate. It is told in three parts, and at once it is frightening while a few minutes later it is hysterical. This is a wonderful thriller that manages to mix horror and social satire in an incredibly compelling way. And the version I saw included excellent use of a terrific song by Heavens called “Leave”. Although I caught this in October, it seems the release date is set for 2008.

9. KNOCKED UP

A crude and rude comedy with heart and a terrific pairing of Seth Rogen and Katherine Hiegl. But the real surprise behind this film is Leslie Mann and Paul Rudd. Both of these actors were terrific and added real backbone to the film, much like Carrie Fisher and Bruno Kirby in WHEN HARRY MET SALLY… I said it once and I’ll say it again, although it doesn’t look too good without a Golden Globe nomination, I heartily feel than Leslie is worthy of a Best Supporting Actress nomination at this years Oscars. This is a very layered and funny performance that will scare the crap out of most guys, but she is the real deal, brought to life with her hilariously touching performance.

8. EASTERN PROMISES

David Cronenberg and Viggo Mortensen have become a solid team in the past few years. I loved A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE and am happy to say that they have continued success with this. I’ve seen the film a couple of times and I liked it more the second time around. The subtle nuances within the script involving a young pregnant woman with ties to the Russian Mafia in London is a compelling and fascinating dissection of the human aspect of the story. And with such a wonderful script, Cronenberg opens the door to this world with an assured hand. A great movie with a terrific performance from Mr. Mortensen. Hell, even when the dude is naked he can kick your ass.

7. SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET

Okay, musical number one. I love the pairing of Helena Bonham Carter and Johnny Depp. And I also tend to enjoy Tim Burton and Mr. Depp. It’s no surprise to me that a flick about a man taking revenge on those who destroyed his life would be my cup of tea. And it's no surprise that a film with those who have tasted the wrath of a wronged man being tasted by others courtesy of “meat pies” would be of great interest also. But what is astounding, is that it is all wrapped up in musical numbers from Stephen Sondheim. This is a genre that I generally dislike immensely. But even the songs didn’t distract me from a bloody good time. In fact, many of which I enjoyed (at least in the context of the film) A classic work of horror in which Tim Burton takes the music and the grisly images with a serious tone. A beautiful and effectively dark horror musical.

6. THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD

It may have a title as long as the movie, and it may test some with it’s length. But I found this to be a poignant and richly atmospheric film. It may very well have the most incredible train robbery sequence ever filmed. Director Andrew Dominik’s stylish visuals and rolling landscape is a beauty to behold. And yes, Brad Pitt does a nice job as Mr. Jesse James himself. But it is Casey Affleck who really shines as the not all that cowardly Robert Ford. I promise I won’t ask for too many of these, but this work is truly Oscar worthy. In fact he gives what is probably my favorite performance this year.

5. SUPERBAD

Judd Apatow strikes again (as Producer) with an even cruder and ruder tale of two teenage boys looking to get drunk and laid, in that order. Michael Cera and Jonah Hill are perfectly cast and extremely likeable. This is a funny, and true to most of Apatow’s movies, immensly touching take on the pain of being a teenager and losing your best friend to college. Penis drawings and the joy of having a hot mom are only two of the hilarious moments in a script written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg and directed by Greg Mottola.

4. NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN

It’s no surprise that the Coen Brothers make great movies. But it’s always nice to see them return to a darker tone, much like they did early on with BLOOD SIMPLE. It’s a case of what man would do for a ton of dough and how far another will go to get it back. Josh Brolin and Javier Bardem are able to successfully create a fascinating good guy, bad guy relationship and never be seen together. Yes a few complained about the ending, but I’d rather be challenged sometimes, than have it all wrapped up nice and pretty. And it would be ridiculous to not mention Mr. Bardem kicking serious ass. Thank you Ethan and Joel.

3. HOT FUZZ

HOT FUZZ has everything that is good in one neat little package. It’s got horror, comedy and some surprisingly badasssss action sequences. Edgar Wright can take a simple idea, like paying homage to BAD BOYS 2, and make it way more exciting and hilarious than you could ever expect. And of course, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost once again make a winning team. But leave it to Timothy Dalton to give a devilishly wicked performance and steal more than a few scenes. Thank God for the Brits and their comedy.

2. INTO THE WILD

From the opening moments in this stunning film to the sad and painful finale, the audience is told the story of Christopher McCandless. He was a privileged young man who left everything behind and took off to Alaska. Along the way he meets several other souls, a few lost and a few found. Sean Penn offers up his most accessible work yet. This is a beautiful film that gives us a glimpse of the beauty that we already have in our lives and we sometimes forget. It is made even more poetic with the help of a few deeply felt tunes by Eddie Vedder. And Emile Hirsch carries a heavy weight on his shoulder with his warm and honest performance.

1. ONCE

A great movie should affect you very deeply. It should make you want to get out there and touch people with your own story. ONCE is such a simple film. Boy meets girl and they get together and record a few songs. But it is a fantastic tale of love, music and friendship. John Carney’s direction is so subtle, yet it tells the story better than almost every other film I’ve seen as of late. And his script is truthful and sweet without treading into sentimentality. It’s all about the music. Neither Glen Hansard or Marketa Irglova are professional actors, but boy can they sing. Yep, my favorite film this year is a musical. But it is told in a believable setting. Nobody is breaking out into song and dancing in the streets. And it contains one of the most honest relationships between a man and a woman I’ve seen on the silver screen (or to be honest, my laptop). The most satisfying film I’ve seen all year and I’m sure I will be watching it again soon, because you can’t watch it… (I think you know what I’m getting at here).

Let me know what you think. Send questions and comments to [email protected]
Source: JoBlo.com

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